All Wound Up! 1961 Sunbeam Alpine


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This 1961 Sunbeam Alpine looks remarkably straight, and being a California car for a while is pretty solid as well. There will need to be some minor dent repair, but I don’t see anything beyond the scope of the average home hobby restorer. The neat looking hardtop is a nice addition, and the interior even looks like it would clean up fairly well. The seller has started on the restoration by working on the brakes, but it’s stalled at that point and despite the engine turning over is classified as a non-runner at the moment. Learn more by continuing down this post!


Obviously, a previous owner had a sense of humor! I remember seeing these wind-up keys on the back of VW Beetles, but I’ve never seen one on a British sports car before. That being said, with the smallest version of the Alpine engine (1.5 liters), original 1961 Alpines didn’t exactly have a surplus of torque! You can also see some issues with the paint on the longer (early) tail fin. I can’t tell if that’s a dented area around the tail light assembly or not–can you?


The vulnerable tops of the fenders at the headlights look pretty good, and to be honest, I’d leave the front bumper over riders off as well, just like a previous owner did.


You can see here where the seller had removed the hubcaps and rear drums, and the drums have been turned, as well as the front calipers being rebuilt. It’s also pretty obvious from this shot that the car has been repainted in a non-stock red; I’m guessing the red in the door jamb is the original color. The seats don’t look too bad, though, and should clean up adequately, especially for a driver classic.


Looking at the driver’s side, the story looks the same. I hope the floors are solid under the carpet!


Here’s the engine. I’m thinking this may be a later engine due to the twin Stromberg carburetors located in the trunk; early cars like this should have had twin Solexs. Of course, it looks like whatever was there has been replaced with a downdraft Weber carburetor, so I guess all bets are off as to what’s actually under the hood, other than that is is an Alpine engine. If you’re lucky and not an originality freak, one of the later 1725cc engines would be nice!

If the post above has you wanted to investigate this little Alpine further, it’s located in Dinuba, California, and is up for sale here on eBay where the starting bid is $2,500 with no reserve!


Auctions Ending Soon


  1. SunbeamerStu

    A pox on whoever would drill a hole in the trunk to put on that dopey key.

    A (minimal) pass to that person if it’s a mag mount.

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    • Busyditch

      If I remember correctly they stuck on with a suction cup.

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    • Matt Tritt

      I’m with Stu. Also notice from the front plate that the owner seemed embarrased about the car’s performance. I’ve never heard Alpines being called Escargot!

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      • Alan (Michigan)

        I read “ESCARGT”, maybe the emphasis was on the GT part…?
        But then, by the standard of American big-engined cars, a Sunbeam might have been kinda slow and snail-like?

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  2. Charles

    This car looks decent and well worth the effort to put her back on the road.

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  3. PaulG

    Jamie, Paint looks original, just faded. I’m thinking this could be an excellent purchase and project…

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  4. Van

    How hard to turn into a tiger?

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    • MichaelMember

      VERRY! about everything is different!
      They did well in F production racing and have provenance having been driven by world class drivers.

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    • Harry

      Yes, I agree with Michael, swapping to a V-8 is far more daunting than most believe. Typically, you see the conversion about half way through and then being sold as a “project”.

      Stick with the 4 cylinder, put a decent cam in it add an OD transmission and you have a great car for the road. And yes, the Alpine did well in the SCCA during the 60’s. Few people realize it but the Alpine was always at the front of the points race in the National Championship from 1960-67.

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    • Rancho Bella

      I’ve had Tigers………each time I wish it would turn into an Alpine

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  5. DolphinMember

    I like to store my old brake drums and hubcaps on the seat upholstery too.

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  6. Dave Wright

    Pretty tough crowd…….it looks like a reasonable car ar a reasonable price, so far, if it was cleaned, polished and pretty for twice the money you guys would think it was too expensive.

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  7. Sunday Driver

    Here’s a photo of the potential of these beauties.
    This one’s a ’60, new restoration.

    Not hard to turn one into an “Alger”.

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    • Alan (Michigan)

      NICE Car!

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    • Rancho Bella


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  8. stillrunners

    come on guys get smart and save this girl….

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  9. Alan (Michigan)

    I see a pair of side-drafts waiting in the trunk for a rebuild job and installation. Likely a power increase over what is currently installed?

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  10. wagon master


    I think that rear fin is damaged a bit, seeing as the tail lens is broken also. At first I thought the paint cracked, then it looks like the end of the panel damage is lower to the left. Not a big problem. I think it’s a great find if price stays close to the ask. Considering an Alger just sold at $20, this needs to be running and pretty at $12ish.

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  11. Rancho Bella

    Having owned two Sunbeam Tigers……..I’ll take an Alpine.
    Much better handling and much less over heating. It may not make a V8 sound but who cares
    They are very good sporting cars. Sadly they are fading, much like the folks that bought them new.

    And yes, a finned Alpine looks soooo neat
    Check out the trailer in the background, wow

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  12. Mark Clinard

    I had a 67 Alpine w twin DCOEs, headers and a lifted cam, it was a fast as a BMW 2002tii. Great handling and could accomdate my 6′ 4″ 280 frame.

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  13. wagon master

    Gents All,
    Where and how much to pick up a cvt top assembly for this? He says the entire assembly was removed.

    Thx in advance!

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